10

It's true we spend more on our grocery budget than most people would. I'm not going into number details here because I think that's personal and I wouldn't ask you to tell me what you spend on yours. But I do think that your food spending should be a decent part of your overall budget and not just a drop in the bucket because what you put into your mouth is the biggest factor of your health. We do not spend much on sick care because we use our food budget as our health care. With that being said, I totally understand that there are some that need to cut every corner imaginable in order to put that good quality food into your mouth. So I have here a list of ways to eat healthy without breaking the bank. I hope it helps you.

#1. Have a budget - Know how much you can spend. My husband and I LOVE the guidance of Dave Ramsey and his book, Financial Peace.  But of course, there are lots of sources out there to guide you in making a budget if you don't already have one.  The important thing is, make one, make food a priority in it over vacation, entertainment and luxury items and stick to it.

#2.  Plan a Menu -  I already talked about planning a menu in my post on Menu Planning. In planning a menu, one is able to plan ahead on items you already have in the freezer, things that are on sale in your grocery store sale flyer (hopefully produce and organic or grass-fed meats), and space out your more expensive meals with less expensive meals in between.

#3  Cook From Scratch -  It really is cheaper.  We rarely eat out or get take-out. One, now that we eat quality food we actually get allergic reactions if we accidentally ingest artificial ingredients, especially neurotoxins (see my post on Our Food Story and others if you are not familiar with this yet).  Staying home and cooking from scratch saves a huge chunk of money.

#4  Eat Your Leftovers - I'm not sure why some people put their noses up at leftovers.  They make a wonderful breakfast or lunch if you don't want to save them for another dinner.  I usually schedule one leftover meal per week - if we run out of leftovers thru the week before this meal, then I just make an omelet or something simple.  Usually I eat leftover vegetables with breakfast as a side with my eggs.

#5.  Eat the Right Foods -  After eating It Starts With Food and changing how we eat a little more than what we already were doing, I learned that I was saving money because when we eat right we don't have the need for snacks.  It's true.  If my breakfast contains the right amount of protein, vegetables and a healthy fat, I'm not hungry until lunch time.  The same with other meals and in the evening time when I was usually hungry for those processed goodies that are costly and aren't healthy.

#6.  Coupons - I just learned this trick...no, not coupons in general but coupons for those expensive organic foods you don't normally find in the newspaper.  Call the company (or email) and tell them you want to try their product but don't want to spend the money.  Many of these companies are willing to send you  coupons! You can also follow your favorite organic/natural food companies by email, newsletters or Facebook or Twitter and keep an eye out for sales or coupons advertised on those sites!

#8.  Find a Co-op, CSA or Online Source -  In a small city close to where I live there is a pick up location for UNFI.  We order from the catalog almost monthly.  It involves a once a year fee but we save about 10% off usually already lower prices in the catalog for packaged items like natural soaps, detergents, shampoos and other items.  They have lots of processed snacks and fours, etc. as well though I don't buy so much of that anymore.  I have also found that Amazon often has the products I need at much lower prices with delivery right to my door in 2 days time since I am an Amazon Prime member.

#9.  Gardening -  You can save A LOT of money by planting your own organic vegetables and learning how to can or freeze.  If you don't have time to can, you'd be amazed at how much you can freeze.  Buying an extra freezer is minimal compared to how much money you will save in the long run. If you live in an apartment, container gardening is still doable! Every little bit helps - even if it's just a cherry tomato plant!

#10 -  Buy half a cow -  That's right.  If you find a farmer in your area that has grass-fed beef, find out the cost of how much buying a half a cow or even a quarter would be. It's worth buying a small to medium-sized freezer to do this. You'd be amazed at how much less it actually is per pound than going to the grocery store and buying it in single unit packages from them.  We have a great farmer that we work with and because we do buy in 'bulk' from him he will often give us discounts when we need to buy single items from him at the farmer's market....which leads me to # 11....

#11  Buy at your local farmer's market.  You need to ask questions but you'd be surprised.  Some of these farmers raise their crops organically but do not have the money and time to put into getting the organic label.  This saves YOU money.  Ask questions...find the best quality for the lower price.  And you might find a cattle farmer like we did 🙂

#12 Serve smaller portions of meat.  Don't forget that vegetables should really cover the largest area on your plate.  Your meat or fish portion should only be about a fistful (maybe two if you're a big guy).  Following that guideline is healthier and will help save money.  Quality Meats do tend to be more costly than vegetables.

So there's my 12 tips for the day to heat healthy without going broke.  I bet there are more that my readers can come up with.  Do you care to share how you save money and still eat healthy?

2

I started this blog on March 17, 2012 with the post 'Hello World!'  which was really just some common post by WordPress.  My first actual post was simply titledTime To Begin Again and the second post, dated the same day, was Introduction. Both of those posts were extremely brief and didn't have a whole lot of material. It was really just my first feeble attempt at starting to write again.  It didn't amount to much at first but....   That was almost twenty-one months ago!!  Of course, I didn't start writing consistently until about 7 weeks ago...so I would still call the blog fairly young(105 posts today) but I am enjoying it.  I hope you are as well.

I seem to be settling into a routine.

Monday-  Homeschooling

Tuesday - Our Food Story -  natural health and eating

Wednesday- Books

Thursday - Orthodoxy

Friday - Writing

Saturday - Random Quotes/Posts and Random Thoughts on a Saturday

Sunday - well, that would be my day of rest...no posts.      

I've also learned a few things....like how to put in links which I love to do...and finally how to put a picture to the right or left side and have words right next to it....so simple but I'm so slow!  (Yes, I am laughing at myself so you can too--- and now...laugh more...because it doesn't always work and I still can't figure out what I'm doing wrong!!)

When I have time, I read posts from the blogs I follow.  I'd love to read them all every day but................ well, you know.   I have, however,  learned a lot from them!  I like to see other people's writing styles, the topics they write about, and even what other people say in response to their post!

It's exciting to see my followers increase in number and to see which posts get the most views.  My record is 73 views in a day...  that's probably not much for some of those well-known blogs out there but to me that's a big deal and I'm enjoying it.  The posts that have had the biggest number of hits are #1  Our Food Story  and #2 Those People Who Always Smile.  I'm glad people are interested in Our Food Story because that's one of the main reasons I started blogging.  A LOT of people have encouraged me (A big thank you to those people - you know who you are) over the last few years to start telling people our story...how our lives have changed because of food ...and to tell others what we have learned and accomplished in doing so and to just start writing again!!!  As far as Those People Who Always Smile, I'm thinking it must be the catchy title... and I'm also thinking I should do a follow-up to that post...I've had so many other thoughts about it since the day I originally published it!

I LOVE getting comments!!!!                  So please---  if you have a thought--- share it!  🙂

I feel satisfied with the way things are going here...but am open to ideas on improving the blog as well.  I've thought about changing the title...but no AMAZING titles have jumped out at me and said "Yes!  This is what it should be!"....  I guess it's hard to name because I don't just stick to one topic ( I am a gal of many many hats!).  I've said before I know I cover a lot of stuff here rather than just one topic that most of the popular blogs cover...but that's me...  I am passionate about a lot of things and so I'm going to write about a lot of things!  🙂

But if YOU have any ideas..... please pass them along.

Maybe you have an idea for some future posts on the topics I mentioned above...or maybe you have a question.... or maybe even a suggestion on a new title if I ever get around to changing it one day...could be soon...might not ever happen. Maybe you have an idea for a picture book too...lol...don't tell me though if you think you might want to write it yourself!!    And, if you have a suggestion on how I can just blog and write all day long and still get other things done....lol....then you're amazing and I need to know what that suggestion is!!!

Have a great day everyone!!  I hope you get some writing time today if that's what you enjoy---  I really hope I do too!!

3

 Someone asked me recently if I had children...and if so, how do they handle a restricted diet?

Well, yes.  I do have children.  Three.  

And I guess the answer is different for each of them.

About 7 years ago, when we began our journey towards a more whole foods diet, eliminating artificial additives and preservatives from the Standard American Diet we were then eating and thereby transforming our health (See Our Food Story that I posted on   ), we then had 2 children.  At that time they were 12 and 8.

My children saw the reactions we had to the artificial foods when we added them back into our diet.  They saw themselves.  My daughter's skin turned the brightest red I have ever seen on a person that had NOT just spent an entire day at the beach without sunscreen.  My son itched and itched until he cried.  Both felt ill and uncomfortable.  My daughter's mood was anxious and irritable.  My son was agitated as well - possibly from the itching or another symptom - hard to say.  They saw our reactions.  My husband was nauseous and itchy with a rash.  I was moody to say the least, itchy, anxious and could not sleep most of the night. This of course, only summarizes the reactions we had that week.

My children did not enjoy feeling that way.  They understood,for the most part, why we were never taking part in those artificial ingredients ever again.

Now was it easy to transition?  Certainly not.  But we did what we could to make it fun or at least as easy as we could.  We homeschool...  so that made it easier.  It was easier to say, "Well for health class this year, we are transitioning to a more whole foods diet.  We will be exploring the benefits of fresh fruits and vegetables and learning about reading labels, artificial ingredients and what they do to the body/brain and for Home Ec, we will learn to cook more foods with wholesome ingredients from scratch".  I think because we homeschool, this made the transition easier.  But I am certain one does not have to homeschool to get your kids on board to a healthier diet or make them a big part of it.  I hear public school families can have deep conversations and discussions at the dinner-time  as well!!  And I'm sure our way is not the only way to make a transition work!

My daughter loved the recipe and cooking part.  Life in my kitchen, though, did NOT look quite so glamorous as the picture above!  😉

At that time, we found Christina Cooks on television and would watch her show and bought two of her cookbooks.  Now Christina used macrobiotics (an approach to physical and emotional wellness through consuming foods that are balanced energetically      (between yin and yang) and nutritionally. It is typically a well-balanced  diet with high fibre, low-fat, lots of vegetables and grains, vegetable protein, and limited meat, with an emphasis on eating  seasonal organic food)  and was also a vegan.  I was not, and still am not, totally convinced of the macrobiotic vegan approach (though I do believe that macrobiotics play an important rule in health to a degree and think that veganism, if approached correctly, can be healthy for SOME people though perhaps not ideally...) but what attracted us to Christina was the wealth of information and cooking techniques her show offered.  And my daughter loved the cooking techniques and ideas that Christina presented.  So the three of us, my children and I, would watch this show and come up with great ideas for meals and create them!  My daughter preferred making the desserts but did help with other things too.

My son became my instant label reader(as did my husband).  He was instantaneously intrigued by what was in his foods and what he didn't want in his foods!  He would help me read labels of our old favorites in the grocery store and point out the things we couldn't have.  He would also help me compare these items to the items in the 'natural' section of the grocery store or health food store, assisting in finding easy or sometimes not so easy replacements for things like salad dressings, mayonnaise, ketchup, cereals, etc. He would also express his dismay when he found that a past favorite was off-limits, especially if it were because of only one or two unnecessary ingredients!

So that is ,essentially, how we approached incorporating the new foods into our healthy diet plan.  But this doesn't exactly address restricting them from foods they normally ate out or socially, does it?

My son was easier with this.  Oh, he still wanted things laden in white flour and sugar.  But he did want to avoid anything that contained an obvious artificial ingredient that he knew would cause an immediate reaction (other than a little hyperactivity) or was a known carcinogen as we were learning (You'd be amazed at how many food additives are known carcinogens but are still labeled by the FDA as GRAS/Generally Regarded as Safe in our processed food products...but that's another story for another day).  Since most of those things laden in white flour and sugar also contained such ingredients, most were easy to avoid.  But not all.  As I said in the previous food post, life is hard and we're not perfect. So yes, there were (and are) things we give into to make life easier for our kids (and ourselves).  We know that pizza is not healthy... but if we can find a kind that does not have an artificial ingredient that will cause instant chemical changes in our brain and thus cause an allergic type reaction, we will, on occasion, eat it.  The same with a glazed donut or, often, you could find my daughter baking up some yummy concoction in our very own oven.

Over the years we took this decision a little too liberally in my opinion...but that led also led us to learning more which is what has us experimenting with the Paleo/Primal diets which eliminates those processed foods even more.  Actually, if we followed the Paleo diet 100% it would totally eliminate the unhealthy (yes even the organic ones!) processed foods from our diet.  But again, we do not do this 100%... more like 90%.... and we do allow our older son to choose one processed snack a week... because he's a kid... and this transition is hard.  Some (from the Paleo world) may fault me for letting him have the processed food ...  but this is my family and this is the choice I'm making for him (while secretly hoping that in time his cravings for this will lessen) at this time.  My choice could change...next week, next year or possibly never. (Of course he didn't like reading this part when I asked him to read it over and see if I left anything important out of the post!)

When our daughter is away at college, we know that, at least for the most part, she follows what we have taught her.  A family member once said to her that since she was going away she wouldn't have to follow our food rules anymore...  and no, she doesn't... if she wants to go back to having bipolar disorder.  She does not want that.   She knows what can befall her if she strays.  She wants her college education.  She wants her independence.  She wants her health.  She's already been the one to experiment here and there with things in previous years and saw the results...  yes, sometimes natural flavors CAN make you feel awful.... No, that one candy bar was NOT a good idea.  So while she may be ingesting way too much processed grains, she is, I believe, at least staying away from the obviously toxic stuff that her peers are practically inhaling all around her and would cause her horrible consequences.  So she says, 'no thank you', picks up her coffee and plain bagel and away she goes.

My son, still at home, tells me what he wants to take with him on his camping trips, sleep-overs and the like.  Our close friends totally understand what we do and why we do it.  We've had no problems there and they let us know if he'll need his own snacks when he visits or if they have enough available for him.  He doesn't seem to care either way.  I probably worry more about the impact of him being 'different' than he does! That is what he tells me.

My younger son is only 3.  He doesn't know anything different.  And he loves practically anything that we put in front of him. Sure, he goes through a day here or there where he says he doesn't like something.  All kids do. That doesn't mean they won't ever eat it.  I  know that it's normal for tastes and moods for certain foods to change.  I shrug it off and a few days later, what do you know, he loves it again.  Being away from home is a little more difficult now.  He sees the treats on the coffee hour table at church and wants cake...or a cookie...or 'that'...  And what does one say to a 3-year-old?  I've been known to say , "No, that's yuck" to him but walk away wondering, 'Hmmm....he sees other people eating this stuff... so what is he thinking?  When will he either not believe me or tell someone else what their eating is yuck?"  I'm not exactly sure how I'm going to handle that one yet.  I believe though, I have seen such discussions held on other blogs I've followed in the past... time to do some research on some ideas for that!

In closing, I would say that for my older kids, being part of the elimination diet at the ages they were and seeing the results for themselves played a key role in how they have adapted to what others would call a restricted diet.  My youngest will have an easier time simply because he doesn't have the cravings established for Doritos, KFC or McDonald's.  I think sometimes, parents don't give their children enough credit... that given enough information and time to adapt... kids can come to the decisions to make these healthy choices for themselves even surrounded by a world still eating the chemicals that are heavily laden in the Standard American Diet.